Camping should be fun and comfortable. The easiest way to achieve this is to bring a comfortable air mattress with you to the campsite. Whilst other individuals might not consider an air mattress as a camping necessity because it is not considered “roughing it” with nature, it can help you get the most out of your camping experience. Instead of having to sleep on dirt and stones after a day full of activities, there is a soft bed that can protect your tired body from the ground.
Sleeping bags are now designed better to provide great comfort, but they are still not as comfortable as an air mattress. An air mattress, also known as air bed, is usually made of plastic or rubber and is filled with air. Aside from being a bed, it can be used as a flotation device in water. Most air mattresses in the market today are made of PVC, also known as vinyl or polyvinyl. This is essentially synthetic plastic like your PVC pipe at home. Newer brands are made of rubber or urethane plastic which is more elastic and less brittle.
Things to consider before buying an air mattress
Ultimately, your camping gear will depend on your preferences. There are tons of options and features that will surely suit your fancy. Here are a few things you might want to consider before buying your own camping mattress:
1. What is your priority?
Think about the type of camping you would like to experience and what your preferences are. If you want to experience “roughing it”, a sleeping bag will be enough. If you want comfort and support after a long and tiring day, you may want to have an air mattress. An air mattress is thicker than a sleeping bag so you have more distance from the ground and you would feel the hard surface and twigs less. You would hardly miss your own bed at home, except that you sleep under the stars.
2. Will you be hiking or will you drive to the campsite?
A sleeping bag will generally be lighter than an air bed. If you are hiking, you have to consider the weight of your sleeping bag or your camping mattress. A sleeping bag will generally weigh from 1.5kg to 3kg, depending on the filler. A camping mattress, however, will be heavier at 11kg to 12kg, because it is made of thicker materials and it usually accommodates two people. If you are a car camper, you have more options including heavy-duty air mattresses that can be easily transported in your vehicle.
3. Where are you camping? What type of weather do you expect?
It is important to consider the location of the campsite, so you can choose the right sleeping bed. If you are going to a hilly and rocky slope, an air mattress might not be the best idea. The temperature should also be a huge consideration when choosing a bed. An air mattress without flock in a cold campsite might mean a sleepless night for you.
4. Will you be camping in your car or in a tent?
Most air mattresses would fit in a standard tent, but might not fit inside a car. If you will sleep in your vehicle, you won’t have to worry much about the slope and the ground. On the other hand, if you will sleep in a tent, you need to think of the rain, the ground, and the temperature.
5. Does your air bed have a built-in or manual pump?
Inflating your air mattress could take from ten seconds to five minutes, depending on the inflation method. You may choose between an external pump or a built-in one. There are four types of pumps for inflating an air mattress: manual pump, electric pump, battery-powered, and self-inflating. Manual pumps can be operated by hand, feet, or mouth. An electric pump needs a power source like a solar panel or a car battery where you can plug the electric pump and wait for it to fill up. Electric pumps are noisy, however. A battery-operated pump comes with a rechargeable battery and an external pump. You just need to connect the pump to the port to inflate. It usually takes a minute to fully inflate an air mattress. A self-inflating pump is very convenient because you just need to unroll the mattress, press the inflate button, and you have an instant bed.
6. Is it portable?
How portable do you want your air bed to be and how much weight can you carry when hiking? You also have to consider the weight and size of the external pump and battery if it is not built-in. Air mattresses are designed to be folded into a small carry-on bag and are usually lightweight. If more features are added and built into the mattress, it would mean it is heavier and less portable.
7. Is it durable?
Your camping mattress will be used multiple times in the campsite and would often be subjected to regular folding, packing, and storing. Aside from that, it will be laid on hard surfaces that are not flat and smooth. It will have to carry your weight for approximately eight hours a day without losing air. Consider, too, the other persons who might be using the mattress and their weight. Buying the most suitable air mattress will ensure that you get to use it for another year.
8. Consider its thickness and dimension
You have two choices when buying an air mattress. You can choose standard elevation which is about ten inches or less in height. This is also known as the single-high and is often preferred by backpackers because it is lighter and inflates faster. Another option is the double high which is best when you don’t have to hike far to the campsite. Check the dimension of your tent. As you will be arranging your air mattress inside your tent, you must consider the length, width, and the working space inside it. Ideally, you should leave extra space for your luggage and camping supplies.
12 Signs you have the best air mattress for camping
1. The best air mattress is lightweight
It should be lightweight, especially if you are going to bring it on a hiking trail. If you expect to do a lot of walking, your air mattress should not be hard to carry. As you will also carry on your back other provisions like tent, food, water, and clothes, bringing a heavy mattress will be a burden. Whilst there are thicker and more comfortable air mattresses, it is best to reserve them when you are in a caravan.
2. It is durable
Compared to the air mattress you use at home, a camping mattress is more durable because it has to withstand being stored and transported several times. It should also survive the ruggedness of the outdoors like rocks, branches and mud. It normally has a thick vinyl bottom to prevent punctures.
3. Its surface is bounce-free
The surface should be firm enough to prevent you from waking up when you move. Air distribution inside the mattress should be equal, so getting up and out of the mattress should be easy and not bouncy.
4. It has customised firmness
The firmness of an air mattress depends on how inflated it is. If the bed is over-inflated, it would feel like you are just sleeping on the ground. If inflated right, you will feel back support. If under-inflated, it would be sagging and you will feel back pain the following day. Customising the firmness of the bed using a manual pump would mean you will have to test the bed multiple times whilst pumping air. A good air mattress should have controls so you can easily adjust the firmness of the sleep surface to meet your preferences. If your air mattress has these side controls, you are in for a treat.
5. It is easy to use
After a tiring day, the last thing you would want is to manually pump air to inflate your air mattress. You shouldn’t also be blowing on it like a balloon. After a tiring day, you just want to bring your air mattress out, lay it on the floor, and have it inflate on its own. However, remember that air beds with a built-in inflating system are a bit heavier than the manually-pumped mattress.
6. It is easy to store
Most designs in the market are easily packed, rolled, and could be stowed away in backpacks. You should be able to easily store your air mattress in an easy-to-carry bag and it should not take up a lot of space.
7. It has good insulation
One of the best innovations in the market for mattresses is the insulation to limit the heat loss and keep the mattress from getting cold. This is especially important when you need to go to the restroom at night, leaving your warm space exposed. Without insulation, you will have to spend the next few minutes shivering whilst you get the bed warm enough again.
8. It is easy to repair
No matter how much you take care of it, an air bed is exposed to the elements. Wear and tear with constant use will degrade the material of your airbed, so it may sustain a tear or puncture. A great airbed should be easy to repair with a handy repair patch. The repair patch shouldn’t look awkward on the airbed, too. A manually-pumped mattress has a tendency to get over-inflated and it may cause leaks and tears and the seams may look undone. Self-inflating mattresses do not have this problem because it is system-operated.
9. It is waterproof and has an antimicrobial surface
Because you will use the mattress on the ground, expect dirt, grime, and sweat to be collected during your camping trip. Dirty and moist surfaces are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. It should be antimicrobial not just on the sleeping surface but also on the sides and on the bottom, because you will be rolling the mattress. No matter how prepared you are, the unexpected happens like heavy rain filling the ground with water. A waterproof mattress will save you from carrying a heavy drenched bed on your hike.
10. It has a flocked surface
Camping mattresses should have a velvet-like cover on the top layer of the air bed. This reduces sound when you move. It also eliminates the use of sheets, so you have one less thing to pack. Unlike plain plastic inflatables, the flock is warmer and it will make you comfortable at night.
11. It has good support
If you are worried that you might fall off the mattress when you are sleeping, you should look for an air mattress that has sufficient side support. It should be able to support the weight of the person sleeping without sagging. On average, the mattress should be able to carry 300 pounds to 600 pounds. Sagging will cause a back discomfort. To better support your back whilst sleeping, ribbed designs are better than flat surfaces. This will also prevent you from falling off. The bottom should also be non-slip to prevent it from moving inside the tent.
12. It comes with other accessories
Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep with a pillow whilst camping? Bestway Comfort Quest Inflatable Airbed comes with a 30cm built-in pillow, so you do not have to use your supply bag as a pillow. This will surely add to the comfort of sleeping on an airbed. Your camping gear needs may change from time to time. If you are on the look-out for a durable and comfortable air mattress, Outbax offers a wide selection of air mattresses. The best thing is that you do not have to travel far and wait long to have it delivered because it can be easily ordered online. Air mattresses from Outbax come with free shipping and a 12-month warranty. Visit our site now!